Monthly Archives: February 2012

ATTN: UGA Alums!

Can UGA alumni rally to raise 10,000 books for Athens children? As a UGA alum, you probably have many fond memories of beautiful, quirky Athens G.A. But you might not be aware of the devastating increase in poverty (Athens now ranks #1 in the nation for cities over 100,000 residents), and the toll it’s taking on Athens children. Books for Keeps began as one UGA alumna’s effort to help an Athens child who loved to read but didn’t own a single book. It’s grown into a research-based program to end “summer slide”, a well-documented achievement loss that occurs in children who don’t read during the summer. Support Athens children by helping Books for Keeps raise 10,000 more books by April 1st. Every $2 you donate buys 1 – or more – new books for an Athens child. Books for Keeps will provide books to every student at 5 Athens elementary schools where 90% or more of students qualify for free/reduced lunch. The organization has raised 15,000 books, but needs 10,000 more by April 30th – which means the funds are needed by April 1. There are 3 ways you can help:Share our alumni Facebook page with your fellow UGA alumni, to help spread the wordDonate funds via the Books for Keeps Web site. Every $2 buys 1 new book (sometimes more!) If you’d like, specify a memorial or honorary message and Books for Keeps will post it on their Web site. Donate gently used books. There are drop off locations around Athens, and there will be a book rally in Atlanta in March.

By |February 23rd, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on ATTN: UGA Alums!|


We’re 12,000 books short of our goal, and distributions start in 10 weeks. It’s a bad time to ask for help, I know. But this is serious. Books for Keeps can’t do this without more help from our supporters. 2,000 children in 5 Athens schools are counting on receiving 12 books each… starting April 30th.Have we tapped out the Athens market for used children’s books? I’m out of ideas, and starting to panic. Forget about the public humiliation of not honoring a commitment made to a former U.S. President… it’s about keeping Athens children in school.Yes – you read that correctly: keeping children in school.Our program is not a feel-good program that exists to make children happy – although we do believe it will help instill a love of reading. It’s a program based on research that shows 12 books per child helps prevent summer slide. If we can keep these elementary school children reading during summer, they’re less likely to be 2 years behind their classmates in reading achievement by 6th grade.Which means they’re less likely to drop out of school. Which means they’re more likely to be productive members of society when they grow up. I actually believe this; I know many of you do, too, and the research backs up this belief.Books for Keeps reaches reluctant readers from low-income families by providing books so enticing, so fun to read, that children will read without any encouragement from an adult during summer.We don’t know the children’s home situations. Perhaps their parents can’t read, or don’t understand that importance of reading. Perhaps their parents aren’t home during the day… or have past-due fines at the library… [...]

By |February 20th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on S.O.S.|

Mt. Bethel Book Drive Results – wow!

It took us until early February to finish counting and sorting the books from last November’s Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church book drive. Of the 15,000 books we have in inventory for our May program, approximately 5,000 came from Mt. Bethel parishioners. What a blessing for Athens children!In total, we collected approximately 17,300 books during the book drive. Here’s a breakdown of how it all worked:100+ volunteers spent over 300 hours counting and sorting books, and we began distributing them to schools as counting was underway.5,200 books were placed in storage for our May Stop Summer Slide! elementary school program, which provides 12 books per student to every child attending an elementary school where 90% or more of students qualify for free/reduced lunch. These books will be distributed in May. 1,800 books were distributed to Pre-K students at 5 schools in December and January.1,200 books were distributed to high school students in January and February.1,000 books were delivered to Clarke Middle School, for distribution this spring.700 Christian books were distributed to children through a program ministering to families in a high-poverty trailer park in Athens.400 puzzle and activity books were donated to 5 elementary schools for use in their mentor rooms.7,000 books (mostly for adults) were placed in storage for our next book sale, which will raise funds for our 2013 program.Mt. Bethel provided more than just books!Funds: Mt. Bethel group Couples in Christ and other individual donors contributed $359 to help us purchase additional books. Supplies: Another group within Mt. Bethel, contributed 40 storage bins, which are always in short supply in our warehouse. Volunteers: Dozens of Mt. Bethel parishioners worked many, many hours on this book drive. Glen [...]

By |February 20th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Mt. Bethel Book Drive Results – wow!|

It’s starting again…

Remember these photos from last year, when books began taking over my foyer, dining room, and many other rooms in my house?If you do, this morning’s photo won’t seem very impressive.That’s because I got smart and set up my garage with shelves for book shipments and drop-offs.I try to have local books delivered straight to our warehouse, but many times my car is completely full and I need the space quickly for something else, so the books get unloaded to the garage. NOT the dining room!Another contributing factor is that we can’t have books shipped directly to Fire and Flavor’s warehouse. Until we have our own space, with a real mailing address, mail-in donations will continue to go to Kay in Greenville, and purchases/grants will continue to arrive at my house.In fact, I’m expecting 20-40 boxes of books from First Book in the next few days, so I’d better get out there and make some room.

By |February 17th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on It’s starting again…|

Thank you, Deep Discount Purchase Fund donors!

Check out the amazing books we were able to purchase recently, thanks to the people who clicked the “Donate” button and contributed to our Deep Discount Purchase Fund: 1,065 new books for an average of $.95 each!Here’s a sample of what we got. (I couldn’t resist opening a few boxes before taking them to the warehouse.)I focused heavily on dinosaurs, but also on other books requested by boys – we are incredibly short on these books. First Book USA offered us a significant discount – some titles were as low as $.35 each.This is my favorite. It’s a hardback picture book (for $.35!), but it’s actually for older children – 2nd-4th grades. Can’t you see a child picking up this book with no encouragement from an adult? It’s packed with pictures and information that will keep a child reading for hours.We now have some dinosaur books for every age range. Until this shipment arrived, we had maybe 50, total – for 2,000 kids!I wish you could have seen the UPS man’s face when he knocked on my garage door at the end of the long work day and said “Um… are you Melaney? You may want to come see this…” I felt so sorry for him that I helped him unload the truck.I am trying to raise several thousand dollars, quickly, so that I can place another order. This time I’m focused on sports books, one of the top 3 requests from last year. We have 43. That’s it. Non-fiction basketball and football books about current teams and athletes are the top request, and it’s not going to be easy.I’m negotiating discounts and will buy as [...]

By |February 17th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Thank you, Deep Discount Purchase Fund donors!|

You buy a tote, we’ll buy a few books.

This is not your average tote bag.

It’s sturdy and stylish, for sure. But proceeds from the sale of this tote bag will make it possible for us to purchase many, many books. First Book and Scholastic Literacy Partners make new books available to us for for $.35 – $2.00 per book. So the purchase of a single tote makes a big difference!

It’s big. 22″ wide x 16″ tall x 6″ deep.

It’s sturdy. I’ve filled mine with books til I could barely carry it, and it held up just fine. It’s a light cotton canvas.

Here’s a side view.

The tote was made possible by some wonderful businesses who sponsored the funds to have the totes purchased and printed. So 100% of the proceeds from tote sales (after taxes and shipping), come straight to Books for Keeps.

To Purchase Your Tote(s):
1. Click the Donate button at the top-right of this page.
2. Specify in the notes section that you’re purchasing totes
3. Include your address.

The prices below include taxes and shipping in the U.S.

1-5 totes – $15 per tote
6 or more totes – $10 per tote

We can fit 14 totes in a Priority Mail Flat Rate shipping box. Can you imagine how many books that will buy, at $.35 – $2 each?!

A special thank you to our sponsors – we couldn’t have done this without you!

Allergy Partners of Georgia
Classic City Orthodontics
Fire and Flavor
First American Bank
Holland and Company
Keba Grill
Locos Grill
Mirko Pasta
Mitchell Bridge Dental Associates
Regional First Care

By |February 16th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on You buy a tote, we’ll buy a few books.|

13,000 Book Rally!

Books are starting to trickle in, but whats most exciting is we’re receiving word that many more are on the way. Our Library Thing message board is abuzz with people describing the books they’re packing up to send to Kay in Greenvile, who sorts them and delivers them to Athens.People from places near and far are getting creative in helping us. Can we really do this? 13,000 more books by May 1? I’m starting to hope… check out some of the things people are doing for us.First of all – PayPal donations! We are already making arrangements to purchase books in categories where our inventory is slim to non-existent (#1: sports books), and we appreciate the funds that generous people have donated. Thank you.Holly from Marietta, GA held a book drive at her daughter’s birthday party in Marietta.Attendees brought gifts for Annie, and books for Books for Keeps. They delivered the books to Donna, a Marietta resident, who is using her office and home as drop off locations for us. Thank you, Holly and Annie! (Wish I’d gotten a bite of that cake!)And thank you, Donna – having a drop-off location in Marietta is huge for us!Over in Atlanta, Taylor, a long time Books for Keeps supporter (who happens to be my little sis) has arranged for Bitsy Grant tennis center to collect books after evening tennis drills – a time when families are most likely to be attending. (Taylor has also held book drives in her neighborhood and office; my husband picked up a load of books yesterday!)Here in Athens, members of Alpha Beta Gamma at Athens Technical College are holding a campus book drive.First [...]

By |February 16th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on 13,000 Book Rally!|

Mail-In Book Donation Guidelines

I know a lot of you are shopping thrift stores for us in other states, while others are cleaning off their bookshelves and mailing in books for the first time. The USPS Media Mail rate makes it surprisingly affordable to send us your books, and I’m always amazed at how many people take the time to mail their books. We’d be in trouble without these donations!Out of respect for your budgets, here are some guidelines that might help you decide which books are worth the postage to send in. Some of these may surprise you – we’ve learned some hard lessons over the last 2 years, but our goal is to provide books kids WANT to read… not books WE want kids to read.1) Cover Appeal:Books with high cover appeal are most likely to be chosen at distribution. Books with colorful, modern covers always get chosen first. When our distribution events are over, we’re always left with perfectly good books (many award winners!) that weren’t chosen simply because their covers were old-fashioned or drab. Old library books were also passed over by the kids.2) Content:Pop culture (current TV characters, African American celebrities & sports figures, etc) and other current children’s fiction is very popular. Not so popular: “culturally relevant” or historical types of material. Junie B Jones goes fast, Rosa B Parks does not. Diary of a Wimpy Kid flies out the door; Diary of Anne Frank does not.Our wish list is posted on left side of this page. If you’re familiar with the books, you know what most of them have in common: they’re current, crazy-popular, and have great covers.Here, on the other hand, is a list of series [...]

Come Play (Doh) at Avid on Saturday!

Want one of our cool, new, Books for Keeps totes? Read on.A group of graduate students from UGA’s School of Social Work is throwing a short-notice fundraiser to help our efforts to raise 13,000 more books. We’re thrilled to be the recipients of their fundraiser – but they need your help getting the word out.Bring your kids to Avid Bookshop this Saturday, Feb. 18th, from 2-4. There will be all sorts of fun activities:- A Play-Doh art station, AND a demonstration of how to make your own “doh” at home- A bouncy castle, generously provided by Earthen Excursions- Sidewalk chalk-drawing stations.Now about those tote bags: the School of Social Work hostesses will be selling these Books for Keeps tote bags, too. 100% of the proceeds from activities and tote sales will be given to Books for Keeps. You are welcome to bring gently-used books for kids in K-12. Avid will be selling books from our wish list, and 10% of the proceeds from book sales will be donated to us as well. If you haven’t already heard, we’re trying to raise 13,000 MORE books by May 1 – so this is a great opportunity to help us reach our goal.Help us spread the word about this short-notice fundraiser – viral is our only option and we need your help. Here’s a link to the Facebook event – please share it with your friends. Hope to see you Saturday!

By |February 14th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Come Play (Doh) at Avid on Saturday!|

How You Can Help

Thank you, everyone who’s written asking how to help with our “13,000 books in 12 weeks” challenge. Here are the specifics:We accept books for children of all ages, but our current critical need is for 13,000 current, popular books (both picture and “chapter” books) for children in Kindergarten – 5th grade. Our most requested titles are listed on the middle-left side of this web page.Here’s how you can help, no matter where you live:1) Donate to our Deep Discount Purchase FundUse the “Donate” button on the top-right side of this Web page or mail a check to PO Box 49761, Athens, GA 30604. We’re collecting funds to take advantage of deep discount purchase opportunities made possible by 2 large book providers.2) Order from our wish listsAmazon will ship books straight to us from our wish list. Locally, Avid Bookshop offers some of our wish list books starting at just $3.3) Donate your books More InfoWe have drop-off locations around Athens, as well as individuals in Macon and around metro-Atlanta who are collecting for us. The US Postal Service offers a discounted “Media Mail” ratethat is surprisingly affordable for shipping paperbacks.4) Hold a book driveIt’s as easy as putting a box in your garage or office, then sending an email or Facebook post to your neighbors, friends, or coworkers. You’ll be surprised how much fun this is! Here’s how.5) Tell somebodyTell your Facebook friends… place a notice in your church or neighborhood newsletter or email group.. Tweet about us… Think of all those books, gathering dust on shelves right now, that could find new homes with children in Athens! If only their current owners knew we needed them…Here’s [...]

By |February 7th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on How You Can Help|